Big Update For HPE 3Par All-Flash Storage: New Licensing, Improved Data Reduction

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) on Monday introduced significant feature enhancements, including its first compression feature, and a new long-awaited all-inclusive licensing model to its all-flash 3Par storage array.

That feature set, coming with the expected introduction this quarter of the new 3Par OS 3.3.1 release, includes a number of enhancements to 3Par's ability to decrease capacity requirements, strengthen protection of the data, and provide more automation, said Vish Mulchand, senior director of product management for HPE.

HPE's latest updates to the 3Par storage solutions prove a commitment to the platform that customers will appreciate, said Chris Case, president of Sequel Data Systems, an Austin, Tex.-based solution provider and long-time HPE channel partner.

[Related: HPE: Increased 3Par SSD Capacity, Improved Software Help Push All-Flash Data Center Concept]

Sponsored post

"We're excited about the continual investments in 3Par," Case told CRN. "Customers get the confidence of knowing 3Par's direction is solid, unlike that of Dell EMC where they have to manage all those different storage lines."

One major change with the new HPE 3Par OS 3.3.1 release is the addition of all-inclusive licensing which significantly simplifies the purchasing process for partners and customers, Mulchand told CRN.

Going forward, the all-inclusive license will be available for all new 3Par purchases, he said. "Existing customers 3Par customers will be able to purchase a transition SKU to get all the software included with OS 3.3.1 as well," he said.

The all-inclusive licensing is a follow-up to December's introduction of 3Par Flash Now, which allows the 3Par all-flash storage solution to be purchased as an operating expensive rather than an up-front capital expense, Mulchand. 3Par Flash Now will also cover HPE 3Par OS 3.3.1 going forward, he said.

The simplified licensing for the 3Par may be the most significant of Monday's enhancements, Case said.

"No longer will we need to line-item all the licenses," he said. "This is great for customers going through the buying process."

Other vendors, including Nimble Storage, Tegile, Tintri, Pure Storage, and the Compellent line from Dell EMC already offer all-inclusive licensing, Case said.

"We've been telling HPE since it acquired 3Par that this has been a pain point," Case said. "HPE for a while added caps on licensing so that when a customer reached a certain number of drives and licenses, they wouldn't have to purchase more licenses. HPE also had licensing suites. But these were still line items. When it came to upgrades, we had to look at the drives and what licenses were needed. And maybe it wasn't us who sold the customer initially."

The new HPE 3Par OS 3.3.1 software includes several key enhancements, Mulchand said.

The first is Adaptive Data Reduction, which includes four changes to help reduce customers' capacity requirements.

Adaptive Data Reduction includes Zero Detect, which finds large blocks of zeros in the ones and zeros that make up a file, and replaces them with a space-saving marker, Mulchand said.

"Zero Detect detects zeros in the data stream but doesn’t write them all down," he said. "This is a common situation with VMware where a 40-GB virtual machine might have up to 36 GBs of zeros. So we map the zeros instead of writing them."

Also included is 2:1 data compression, a feature that is available for the first time in 3Par despite being a common capability in competing solutions. "It took us time to get it enabled on our system," Mulchand admitted.

HPE also enhanced the 3Par's deduplication capabilities, and introduced data packing, which is a new way to use fixed block sizes to enhance the efficiency of the storage, he said.

All the features work with customers' self-encrypting drives to enhance the security of the data, he said.

Adaptive Data Reduction will be available with all new All-flash 8000 and 20000 series, and will be included automatically on upgrades for customers with maintenance agreements, Mulchand said.

Adding compression is a key move for 3Par, as it is a feature that customers request often, Case said.

3Par was not alone in not offering compression with its first shipments, but customers have been waiting for it, Case said.

"3Par is a popular storage solution," he said. "But we understand that, if an operating system was not initially built for compression, it's a big change. 3Par has the industry's best thin provisioning capability, as its operating system was built for it from day one, and the competitors had to play catch-up."

De-dupe enhancements are also always welcomed, Case said. "In the all-flash array market, the more the post-deduplication capacity, the more it drives down the cost-per-gigabyte. and that's important for customers."

Another major enhancement to HPE 3Par was tools to improve end-to-end data resiliency, Mulchand said.

The first is 3Par Peer Persistence, with is new synchronous active-active replication. "We are the only company that offers this natively on all-flash solutions," he said. "Other vendors require an external appliance."

HPE also added third-site replication, which allows data to be synchronously replicated to up to 150 kilometers away for high-speed recovery, and then asynchronously replicated to up to 3,000 kilometers away for disaster recovery, he said.

Customers also now have the ability do native transfers of data from 3Par to HPE StoreVirtual solutions and back as a way to improve data management in remote offices, Mulchand said. HPE also introduced the ability to replicate 3Par data to a StoreOnce virtual storage appliance in a public cloud like Azure, he said.

For cloud service providers, the HPE StoreServ Management Console has been enhanced to automate data movement between up to 24 arrays via a scheduler, Mulchand said.

The new capabilities are slated to be released this quarter, he said.